The almighty guide to creating your own Online Roleplaying Game

This is a work in progress, please leave feedback with what you think about it so far, and what should be included or left out. I am still editing and writing this, but I’m glad if you leave any feedback to help me out on my journey.

The almightly guide to creating your own Online Roleplaying Game

Content

[0.0] Introduction

-[0.1]What will this guide teach you

[1.0]The actual idea

-[1.1]How to brainstorm

-[1.2]What resources you need

-[1.3]Do you really bother?

[2.0]Sketching a game

-[2.1]Main features

-[2.2]Minor features

-[2.3]Know your limits

[3.0]Making a developement plan

-[3.1]Assuming a budget

-[3.2]Recruitment and hiring

[4.0]How to design a good game

-[4.1]What makes a bad game

[5.0]Quality over quantity

-[5.1]“Stop looking at walls” - Lazy game designers

[6.0]Developement

-[6.1]How to make your workers/minions love you

-[6.2]Common mistakes by amateurs

[7.0]Advertising

-[7.1]Stop giving free stuff.

-[7.2]Stop using free stuff.

[8.0]Alpha testing

-[8.1]How to handle feedback

-[8.2]Don’t be one of those people

[9.0]Beta testing etique

[10.0]Release

[11.0]Follow up

[0.0] Introduction

Hello, I’m Xelander, I made my account here a long time ago, without peeking I would have said 4 years ago, but it was actually 6 years ago. I’ve been on and off lately, but I still feel at home here, no matter when I come and go, even if I do not recognize all of the new, as well as old faces, I still feel a bound between us all, and hope to stay that way. But there have always been something that have bothered me all of these years, mistakes are made, common mistakes, I’ve done them myself a handful of times as well, but since how common these are, I thought about giving something back for once.

Therefore, I present you the almighty guide to creating your own ORPG, a guide to help you on your way to create your beloved dream.

-[0.1]What will this guide teach you

This guide will not tell you how to use eclipse, or how to retrieve, or use any tools to creating your own game, it’s made to guide you to your way to creating a successful game, and it’s important to know in what order you should do it, and why. There’s many steps to creating your game, and it will probably take hours, if not days or even weeks or months before you even need to download any engine or anything like that to create your game. Creating a game takes time, and you should not just throw yourself into it and download EO and wrap something up on 20 minutes and call it a day, it takes dedication to even begin, and you need to be prepared to do just so. This guide will help you prepare yourself for that, and it will also help you on your way once you’re there.

[1.0]The actual idea

When you create a game, you usually have a general idea of how the game should be. You should start with what kind of game, should it be a generic medieval grind rpg, or do you prefer it to be with dinosaurs, or with aliens and spaceships? These bold points will help you create your storyline, and your game. You don’t need to focus on details, such as exactly how, when, where, or who. What you need is “with some time technology”, “in the future”, “in space”, “Dinosaurs”, and you have a game about dinosaurs in space, really is that simple, you don’t need details just yet, just a general idea. The problem is just how you get those great ideas.

-[1.1]How to brainstorm

If you have ever brainstormed in school or at work, this will be easy, if not, brainstorming is simply writing down everything that comes to mind, you might even be sitting there, writing down works you brainstorm, and suddenly you feel hungry, so you write down food, and from there you write hamburger, and then you would feel you need a glass of coke with that, and some fries, and suddenly, you can with your brainstorm, create your games story and other ideas for it, such as a hamburger trying to save the glass of coke from the evil fries. It’s all about an idea, it can be anything.

-[1.2]What resources you need

Alright, this is quite an important step, because the resources you use is what limits your from doing everything you might want to do, so pick the right resources to not limit you. Depending on how you want your game, you might want different versions of an engine, or a totally different engine, or even make your own from scratch. The biggest deciders are generally: 2D, or 3D? Solo grinding or Team-dependant? Magical or realistic?, they’re all great questions that need their own answers.

First of all, if you want a 3D engine, you’ll need to search for something along the lines of unreal tournament 3 engine, or something. Creating a 3D ORPG takes a lot more effort than 2D ones, because there aren’t really any good-to-go 3D ORPG engines that actually are decent. What I recommend you to do is just to create your own engine from here, it creates more freedom and more options for yourself.

If 2D cuts it for you, there’s a lot of engines to choose from that all does a decent job for being (for the most part)free, and open source(A few exclusions), for example, if you want a 2D sidescroller game, I know there’s an edited Eclipse engine that has that installed, you just have to search for it. There’s a lot of different ones, if the current one provided on this site is good enough for you(Currently EO 4.2.1), then go for it, but if you feel something isn’t right, you should consider an open source alternative, to enable edits to it. If you can change your engine to work the way you want, you can create the game you always wanted.

-[1.3]Do you really bother?

This question is something you have to ask yourself, you may think that due to there already being engines and resources available to create a game, means that creating one is not a challenge at all, and will become really good without any effort, if you believe this, you have to change your way of thinking, or drop it right there. Even creating a mediocre game with these resources takes a lot of effort and time, it’s not something a single man can do in a day or two, it’s a long standing project that you have to spend a lot of your free-time on to get anywhere, you have to realise this to accept it.

[2.0]Sketching a game

If you followed the first step, which I hope you did, you should have a general idea of how the story of the game goes, and how it will be played out, this is where you write down what features you will be needing to ill out that story, such as fishing, mining, crafting, fighting, raiding, PvP, things to do beside following the story. You also fill in minor details about your story here, names, locations, dates, how, and why. You should draw a world map of your world, a personal one to help you create an idea of the story you are writing, but you might want to create a more detailed one later, it’s good to have a detailed map.

-[2.1]Main features

Think of the main features of the game, what does it include, what makes the game? Crafting, Battles, Party system, PvP, pets, Swimming, just to name a few, these are what makes you game, this is what will fill out and become your tools for your game. It’s good that you do not make too many features, there’s an important thing to know, and that is that the more things there is to a game, the more likely there is that it will be bad, to many features clutters the game, but to little creates no gameplay, it’s a hard task to keep a balance, but it is your job as the main producer/developer/whatever to uphold that balance.

-[2.2]Minor features

Things that players generally do not notice unless they know the actual base engine, such as rebindable keybindings with dragable spells and items onto those skillbars, or AoE abilities, things that not always are obvious, are minor features. They’re usually quality of life things, such as being able to skip a cutscene, if you have these, or emoticons if you want that. They’re generally things you come up with over time, so it’s not important to have a million of these already.

-[2.3]Know your limits

You need to understand that whatever you use, it has limits, no matter what engine you use or create, it has some kind of limit, and you need to make sure that the game you want to create is possible with the tools you are supplied, of course, your own engine is not as limited as for example Eclipse’s engine, but your engine, even if done really well, have some limits to it, and it’s the way of life. You need to go back and adapt your features to work well with the tools you have.

[3.0]Making a developement plan

A developement plan is the term that summarize how the game is supposed to be made, much like how you follow IKEA instructions to build together your desk, you have to make instructions for yourself and your co-workers to follow to create your game.

You want to to start with what you already have done. You have hopefully created a storyline for the game, and a list of features to implement, what more is there to do? Well you need to write down everything that needs to be done, such as creating a budget, assuming your game actually has a budget, you need to decide on that as well(Very few people work for free). You also need to decide on the order things get done. Maybe you want to add the features to your engine first, and at the same time have your graphic designers do their magic. After that you might want your developers to add things like items, while creating the world. After that you might want them to add things like NPCs, and quests. It’s really no big task to make a plan for them to follow, but what’s important is that the details they need is available.

“Create a crafting system”, okay, what kind of crafting system? Crafting potatoes? “Create the world”, okay, how does it look? A big square? You need to give your workers the details to create your game, you have to put yourself into their position, assume you know nothing, and then give yourself the task, what questions pop up in your mind? You need to answer these by giving your workers these details. It’s to assure you get the end result you are hoping for.

-[3.1]Assuming a budget

A budget is pretty much an assumtion of how much something will, or can cost. If you go to the shop to buy some bread, you probably don’t bring your whole wallet with hundreds of euro or whatever currency you might have, you bring slightly more than you need. That’s your budget for bread.

Creating a budget for your game is quite important, if your game has no budget, you probably do not have anyone who are willing to work for you. A budget can be as small or big as you want, assuming your economy allow it. But It’s good to know that a too small budget will not give you the best outcome. Most programmers, graphic designers, developers, actually have some standards and want a real pay for their work. But it’s also good to know that you should not just throw your money at your monitor and hope for the best. You have to have a balanced budget that you think will be enough to make your employees happy, as well as your own wallet.

I can’t really give a number on a good budget, it depends to much on what kind of game you want to make, and how you want to make it. But Most amateurs will do a lot for 20 bucks, while pros will barely look at your request.

-[3.2]Recruitment and hiring

When you are looking to hire people, there’s a lot of factors of what makes a good candidate, and what does not. Choosing a great team to work with is the key to success and a well done game.

Simply posting in the Talents forum on here saying you need help won’t get you a lot of replies, especially if you’re looking for quality. You might want to look for more appropriate sites for advertising your game, whenever you do this is up to you, if your game is just an eclipse game you might as well keep it here.

Some things you need to include in your recruitment post is an introduction to yourself. You need to seem professional, so skip slang, smilies, jokes, and abbreviations. You need to format your thread really well to catch people’s eye. You do also want to include your game idea, a summary, as well as the full story, if you made a map, that’s great to show off here. Do not forget to include a list of features you want to include. You need to seem like you have a well thought out plan. Below this you include things like who you need, programmers, developers, editors, whatever. You also want to write down your budget if you have one. Your budget is practically what makes your game seems serious, you should never expect people to work for free.

[4.0]How to design a good game

To design a good game, you should take some existing ones and see what they did right to get where they are. Take World of Warcraft for example, a now slowly declining game, but had 13 million subscribed users at one given time. Even if it’s dying, it’s still a very successful game, and to make a successful game, the design has to be good.

First, to make a person want to even start playing your game, you have to have something that attracts new people. Many times these include promises of outstanding features or beautiful or unique graphics. World of Warcraft, at its release had a huge world to explore, and an interesting lore. This attracted a lot of people(together with good PR). Even if it did not at the time, right now if you make a character in World of Warcraft, the game takes care of you and make sure you are emerged into the story as well as the game mechanics at a good pace and makes sure to give you enough ground to stand on to explore and enjoy the game. Puting your new players on an island with not even as much as instructions on where to go, or even how to move, is an horrible idea, and not well thought out. You need to make sure your player, once in the game, stays in game. Interesting storylines, and a goal for the player is what keeps them playing. You need to continuously give them reasonable goals to accomplish. Things like many games do. Take the Legend of Zelda for example, Usually, the player is set with a short and simple goal to begin with, and then the princess gets kidnapped or something, which become the followup long-term goal, and the temples of different kinds are the short term goals for the player, but do not forget that there are a lot of sidequests to keep them interested and to fill out the world. This is good design. You don’t want to confuse the player, and make it feel like it’s doing something for no reason. You don’t want to leave them doing nothing at all, or feel like something is a pain in the * to accomplish, you want to make sure that what they do is their own will, and not to much of a hassle, you don’t want to add artificial difficulity, you shouldn’t change something to be hard for the sake of being hard.

[4.1]What makes a game bad

Even the slightest mistake can turn a great game into a pile of trash, so you have to pay a lot of attention to this. A poorly designed game could very well lead to the worst for your game. Designing your game isn’t hard, the challenge lays in doing it properly.

Common mistakes includes the difficulty curve, one level could differ tremendously from one to another, make sure that the curve is exponentional and not going up and down. Naturally games start off easy and slowly becomes more challenging, as people become better, but people develope at different paces, making the designing of this curve really hard to adapt to everyone, thus you need to make sure it adapts to the majority, but still offers depth for the ones who learn quicker, as well as an easy alternative for the slower learners, however it’s important to not give to much of a handicap,since it still needs to be fair, a good player should naturally be rewarded for their efforts.

Reasons that people stop playing once they start are usually that the story is to dull and boring, or non existent, poor difficulity curve, or that there’s no players, which eventually leads to that the player grows bored of the game. Your job is to prevent this, by keeping the story consistently interesting, making the game well balanced and progressively releasing more challenging content, and this will most liekly end up leading to more players playing, and thus making the game feel more alive.

But there also those people who doesn’t give the game a chance, what about them? Usually they feel that the game have nothing to offer, nothing out of the ordinary, nothing that really attracts them. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about this, they just don’t roll that way, but you should have something that stands out from the masses if you want your game to be big. You can’t expect your game to become anything if it’s exactly the same as the one beside it, it can differ with features, or interesting story, or just significally better designed, put effort into it. t could also jsut be poorly advertised and hyped. I’ll be going more in depth on advertising at a later chapter, as well as how to get people to actually play your game.

[5.0]Quality over quantity

It’s hard to pinpoint what actually is quality, what actually is good, what actually is acceptable, what shows that you are putting in effort. Many people are obsessed about quality, they want good content, content that matters, and they want it to have some thought to it, what’s the point of creating 50 classes for your game, when they are all really boring anyway, or at least all except 2, instead of creating 3 or 4 really well designed classes, that won’t clutter your game and it will feel clean, and it is still open for improvements later on that will feel great, an update that adds another class to those 50 will feel like a huge waste, while releasing a 5th class that is really unique and have a lot of thought put into it will attract a lot of more players to your game. People seem to be obsessed with features for their game, they want this and that, but it will clutter the game so much that it will feel overwhelming and sort of shabby, especially with the later trends that things should be “nice and clean” should back that argument up some, people don’t want extreme armors on their characters, a lot of RPGs got a lot of critique on their armors and clothes that they rarely made sense with spikes, but it did, a while ago, it’s all about what is popular, and you need to keep up with these trends to have a quality game.

[5.1]“Stop looking at walls” - Lazy game designers

To add to the previous point, it’s important that you put details in your game, even if you think they don’t matter to most of the players, that the shortcuts to save time, money, and optimize your game(all which is important) that you choose to do, does not affect the players that walk up to walls and stare at them on their 4k monitors, yes, these people exist, and they are what is pushing the standard on graphics in todays gaming industry, and if you appeal to these as well, your game are more likely to gain good reviews, it’s hard to explain, but the people that care about these things, are those people you should care about.

[6.0]Developement

A complicated phase, and most likely one of the most important ones, the developement phase is the part where you order and guide your minions employees from start to finish of your game. The process is long, and it can be frustrating, especially if you have prior to this overlooked things such as the budget, many projects have been scrapped because the budget wasn’t enough. The process usually starts in the ground, where you make sure that your employees knows the end result, and also knows what you want to accomplish, motivating them is a good way to make sure that they put their heart into their work, and help you fullfill your dream. It’s usually your job to make sure everything goes on as it should, and make sure people are not confused about what you want to do. You need to know how a game is built, they are usually built from the bottom up, just like most buildings, you need to have a ground before you add things to it, and you need to make this clear to them.

[7.0]Advertising

Advertising is a very complicated task, it takes quite a lot of research to do it efficiently, and it takes either a lot of luck, or a lot of knowledge about the human mind to properly advertise. If you ever studied how commericals affect you, you should know why it’s not as simple as writing your game’s name on a banner and sticking it everywhere, there’s science behind it, and there’s so many factors that matters that it would be impossible for a normal indie developer to makle a great commercial without a lot of luck. However, with a bit of googling, one could get some tips and tricks to help out, you just need to know what kind of people your game reaches out to, and what kind of people you want it to reach out to. It’s also important how you want to reach out to your group, there’s direct commercial, ads and so on, and then there’s viral marketing, which means you are advertising a game, in a way that makes it seem like the word is just spreading between friends like some kind of big news. It’s a complicated step, and you’re most likely best off googling to do it.

Another part I want to add to advertising, is that it’s extremely important when you advertise, factors that matters to when it is a good time is how far left it is until release of your game, what time of the year it is, and recent events that might change the state, you might want to avoid advertising your game about flying plane into buildings around 9/11, or any other similiar event happens, unless, of course, you want to reach out to a specific group of people that would find it hilarious with 9/11 jokes.

[7.1]Stop giving free stuff.

Avoid promising free stuff all the time in your game, even though people love free stuff, you should make it feel extraordinary when you do, and it is not as simple as giving them something and then it’s fine, sometimes you may end up spoiling them, so if it’s not living up to their expectations, they will complain, and if it is to good, other people will complain because it’s to good to be given out just like that. To keep it short, avoid giving out free stuff to avoid conflicts.

Oh yeah, giving away things like admin positions is the most unprofessional thing you can do, just saying.

Lellelelelelel.

-[1.1]How to brainstorm

If you have ever brainstormed in school or at work, this will be easy, if not, brainstorming is simply writing down everything that comes to mind, you might even be sitting there, writing down works you brainstorm, and suddenly you feel hungry, so you write down food, and from there you write hamburger, and then you would feel you need a glass of coke with that, and some fries, and suddenly, you can with your brainstorm, create your games story and other ideas for it, such as a hamburger trying to save the glass of come from the evil fries.

I’m not sure if there’s an error there, but I just wanted to point that out… 'Cause I really don’t get what does it means. 😛

-[1.2]What resources you need

If 2D cuts it for you, there’s a lot of engines to choose from that all does a decent job for being (for the most part)free, and open source(A few exclusions), for example, if you want a 2D sidescroller game, I know there’s an edited Eclipse engine that has that installed, you just have to search for it. There’s a lot of different ones, if the current one provided on this site is good enough for you(Currently EO 4.2.1), then go for it, but if you feel something isn’t right, you should consider an open source alternative, to enable edits to it. If you can change your engine to work the way you want, you can fullfill your idea you had earlier.

Again, not sure. Just pointing it out.

[2.0]Sketching a game

If you followed the first step, which I hope you did, you should have a general idea of how the story of the game goes, and how it will be played out, this is where you write down what features you will be needing to ill out that story, such as fishing, mining, crafting, fighting, raiding, PvP, things to do beside following the story. You also fill in minor details about your story here, names, locations, dates, how, and why. You should draw a world map of your world, a personal one to help you create an idea of the story you are writing, but you might want to create a more detailed one later in case you want someone else to create the world together or for you.

Yet again.

-[2.1]Main features

Think of the main features of the game, what does it includes, what makes the game? Crafting, Battles, Party system, PvP, pets, Swimming, just to name a few, these are what makes your game, this is what will fill out and become your tools for your game. It’s good that you do not make too many features, there’s an important thing to know, and that is that the more things there is to a game, the more likely there is that it will be bad, too many features clutters the game, but too little creates no gameplay, it’s a hard task to keep a balance, but it is your job as the main producer/developer/whatever to uphold that balance.

Few errors here and there.

-[2.2]Minor features

Things that players generally do not notice unless they know the actual base engine, such as rebindable keybindings with dragable spells and items onto those skillbars, or AoE abilities, things that not always are obvious, are minor features. They’re usually quality of life things, such as being able to skip a cutscene, if you have these, or emoticons if you want that. They’re generally things you come up with over time, so it’s not important to have a million of these already.

The over use of commas is somewhat annoying, some are needed here and there, some are not.

My opinion? So far, so good. For a second I felt as if I was reading a game programming book! 😮 Basically, sounds like it will be a very helpful guide in the future. Keep it up.

Thanks, a lot of errors are bound to happen when you write at 4 am. I’ll correct them and continue right away.

Thanks, a lot of errors are bound to happen when you write at 4 am. I’ll correct them and continue right away.

XD You’re right and okay, I’ll be waiting for more~

Is this still being worked on? I really enjoyed reading it!

Is this still being worked on? I really enjoyed reading it!

I haven’t had time to settle down and write, but I’m about to write somr.e more right now, expect a small update today, or a bigger one tomorrow, or the day after.

Edit:Scratch that, I stepped on my laptop so I can’t write for a few extra days.

Long time since I took me by the neck to work on this, wrote a few pieces, they’re not up to par with the rest, but I will edit it later on next best occasion.

Glad to see this getting worked on again. 😄

i cant imagine how much time you need to write all of this! good job xel!

I didn’t read everything but from what I can tell this has some nice information. I’ll be sure to read more in time and I hope you continue to keep updating this.

i cant imagine how much time you need to write all of this! good job xel!

I am not done yet, but when I originally posted it, and it only took 3 hours or something, it’s not that much.

I didn’t read everything but from what I can tell this has some nice information. I’ll be sure to read more in time and I hope you continue to keep updating this.

Thanks, if you find anything in there that you feel is not right, tell me so I can look into it, many parts of it is written at 2am, so it wouldn’t be odd if I had ended up talking about something completely off topic all of the sudden.

If I follow this guide I will be able to make successful games and be famous for that, like you, right?

If I follow this guide I will be able to make successful games and be famous for that, like you, right?

No.

This is a great contribution, leave actual criticism or none at all.

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